Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Letter from Another Time...

For the biggest part of this afternoon, I have spent time finally tackling a much overdue task.  Our master bedroom walk-in closet had gotten WAY out of hand.  For someone that craves organization, this was one place that made me want to scream.  I'm thrilled to report that besides a clothes basket full of odds and ends needing sorting and a few stacks of craft supplies on my makeshift sewing table (haven't even used it for that purpose yet!) purchased at Goodwill for $5----I've about finished my project of the day. 

What I didn't realize would happen was that God would find me smack dab in the middle of the floor of the closet.  I should have expected it by now!  He ALWAYS seems to find me when I'm doing tasks like that!  However, once again, He spoke to me in the oddest way.  I guess He knows that in order to find me and for me to KNOW it's Him speaking, He has to get my attention in unique ways.

I found a letter that literally fell from the sky.  OK so it fell off a shelf.  It really had no business being in an odd location.  I didn't want to take the time to read all of it, so I intended to read just a few lines to figure out what it was and to put it back where it belonged.  Instead I found myself glued to the floor and God speaking to me in a whole new way. 

This letter was a painful one I had written many years ago.  To be honest, I had forgotten I had written it.  Once I started reading it, it didn't take too many lines to REMEMBER.  It was a letter (as you can imagine with me, it was probably better called a novel!) that I had written Kevin a few months after we had received some devastating news.   When Adriana was 16 months old, my rheumatologist sat down with Kevin and I after massive amounts of testing and told us that under NO circumstances should I become pregnant again.  As a matter of fact, that day happened to be my dad's birthday. 

For someone who wanted nothing more from life than to be a wife and mother, it was devastating.  It didn't matter that I already had a beautiful daughter.  Having that daughter made me CRAVE another child.  It was a very dark time in my life to know that I COULD possibly conceive another child, but to do so was GREATLY discouraged.  Dr. Laird delivered that news in a very matter of fact tone of voice and gave us no wiggle room.  She even went as far as suggesting that we BOTH take permanent measures to prevent future pregnancies.  Since I was only 24 at the time, there was no way I would consent.  Fortunately, timing was wrong for Kevin and it just never worked out for him to take the time off of work in those next coming months.  God knew what he was doing when he placed those roadblocks in our way.

Reading that letter reminded me of just how difficult of a time it was for us.  I'm used to pouring myself out in letter form, but even this one shocked me with it's raw emotion.  I sat in the floor just aching for the writer of that letter.  Though I was the writer, it was such a different time and place.  I remember those emotions, but to be where we are now and able to look back.....the view is entirely different.

Somewhere along the line, medical opionions changed.  Medical advancements were made.   God provided us with large windows of time flare-up free (or very mild) that I was healthy enough to conceive and carry a child to full term.  Because of that incredible blessing, Adriana became the big sister to two insanely loved brothers.    I did have a hard time recovering from Peyton's birth and all of the medications I had to be on created problems.  I did have issues while pregnant with Bradlee that put me on bedrest for 4.5 months.  It wasn't an easy road, but the path was worth it.  God provided.  Yes, we've experienced loss since then and though it hurts tremendously, I'm still able to hold onto the incredible blessings of three children.  Knowing that we would only be a few weeks away from holding another child right now does create an emptiness, but my heart knows the timing was wrong and that God knew what He was doing. 

What I realized while sitting in the floor of our closet this afternoon is that there is going to come a time that my heart isn't going to hurt as tremendously as it is right now.  The woman that wrote that letter and the one that read it today are the SAME, but yet incredibly different.  The one who wrote it was in the beginning of a very emotional journey of grief.  The one who read it today is on a rollercoaster through grief again, just from a different situation.  When I wrote that letter, I didn't think my heart was ever going to heal.  I feel those same feelings again as I try to move through the journey of losing Dad and dealing with other situations we have had to face in recent months or are facing now.  Knowing that I read that letter today and now KNOW that God had a plan for us makes me cling to the hope that He still has a plan for me now.  I KNOW that Dad isn't coming back and that his loss is going to leave an empty place in my heart FOREVER, but I am clinging to the fact that in time it will begin to hurt less.  I also am believing that He had a definite plan in place that involved Dad and that His reason far outweighs the hurt we are experiencing. 

I remember that for months after being told "no" to more children, it hurt to see baby things in stores, to touch Adriana's baby items, to see friends pregnant, and to see siblings together.  It was hard.  It just about completely broke me emotionally and it was VERY difficult on a young marriage.  Right now, just about anything and everything reminds me of the harsh reality of Dad being gone.  I ache for myself, my kids, my husband, my stepmom, my siblings, and so many of our extended family members.  The same feelings I had those years ago are similar to the ones that I have now. 

I realize it's much easier to heal from those wounds years ago knowing that I was able to eventually have more children.  However, at the time I didn't know that.  I had to put faith in God and trust His plan.  I had to find ways to deal with the heartache I was feeling and still keep my life together.  I still had a beautiful princess to take care of and that needed me.  That is never more true than right now.  Just as I couldn't give up on life and God then, I can't now. 

The letter that God sent my way (I do NOT believe in coincidence!) reached me.  It was a reminder that when we are going through the most devastating circumstances we just have to hold on to faith.  I had no idea what my path would be like all those years ago just as right now I don't know how to make it through this journey other than one day at a time.  God wrote my story then and He is still writing it now.  I had no idea what the future chapters were going to reveal those years ago, just like right now I don't know what the next chapter will hold.  Part of me would LOVE to skip to the end and read the final chapters (I am guilty of that at times!).  However, there is no need.  I know the ending.  The ending is about ultimate victory.  I just don't know what the chapters say between today and then.  What I do know is that I can trust the author.  I was able to do it all those years ago and I know I can do it now.  I'm thankful for the reminder that even our darkest moments God has a plan.  I wasn't alone then and I'm most certainly not alone now!

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